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bare-fist fights


fisticuffs = Faustschläge, Handgreiflichkeiten, Faustkampf sth. ended in fisticuffs [quarrel, debate, etc.] = etw. endete mit einer Schlägerei [Streit, Debatte usw.] resorting to fisticuffs is no solution = handgreiflich (zu) werden ist keine Lösung



FISTICUFFS at dawn. China and India are showing muscle on their border.

Their stand-off reflects far deeper tensions.

In June, a few dozen soldiers from each side tussled in a shoving and shouting match on a remote plateau just inside borders claimed by a tiny neighbour, Bhutan.

The Economist

Did you

plural noun [humorous, or old-fashioned]

Fisticuffs is fighting in which people try to hit each other with their fists.

COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary

a fight with the fists



First Known Use: 1605

Fisticuffs were a favourite pastime for the Victorian Gentleman, as well as a way to sort out minor disputes. Unlike modern boxers, Victorian Gentlemen required neither padding nor special equipment.

Bare knuckle fighting was the order of the day. Such fights could continue for hours, both combatants circling each other slowly, weighing up the strengths and weaknesses of the other and smoking fine cigars.

During fisticuffs, the jacket was always taken off, braces were unhooked from the shoulder and sleeves were rolled up.

adapted from Urban Dictionary


(informal) brawl, fight, fist-fight, punch-up
(formal) bare-knuckled boxing, prizefighting


"The object of Parliament is to substitute argument for fisticuffs"

Winston Churchill

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